Industrial strategy

The EU has a long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive, climate neutral economy. Given that this energy transition will be global, maintaining a high level of domestic production of metals such as lead can ensure this is transition is a competitive one.

Lead: making high-performance machining more efficient and cost-effective

Steel has played a major role in modern societies since the industrial revolution. A unique combination of low cost and high tensile strength has seen it become one of the world’s most important engineering and construction materials. Small amounts of lead added to steel reduces the energy requirements of machining the resulting compounds as well as optimising it for use. With Europe producing over €148 billion worth of steel in 2018 alone, lead is critical to supporting this key European industry.

Lead enabling cleaner, more economical cars

Designed to shut off a car’s engine when idling, the automatic start-stop system is incredibly effective at reducing both fuel-consumption and emissions. Batteries used in start-stop vehicles must be able to support repeated use of the system, as well as modern car features such as satnav. Lead batteries are the only technology that can provide all the necessary performance requirements.

Lead providing uninterrupted power

Key to a functioning society is the constant provision of power. In hospitals, for example, critical devices such as dialysis machines and life support systems would cease to function, risking patient lives. Uninterrupted power is required to ensure computers, telecommunications equipment and data centres function as normal. Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) lead batteries ensure the supply of electricity should the input power source or mains power fail.

Leaded copper alloys are central to the EU circular economy

The ability to efficiently recycle copper is becoming increasingly important. Numerous copper alloys in electrical products for example, use lead to enable better engineering and machineability of the final product. Other metals can be separated easily from copper when using lead, in a process which ensures both the copper and lead are recovered and can be reused, minimising waste and returning value to the product cycle for as long as possible. Lead is a key enabler of the EU’s circular economy.


Lead Matters is a collaborative campaign which showcases the essentiality of lead metal across Europe. Developed by the Lead (Pb) REACH Consortium, a voluntary initiative managed by the International Lead Association (ILA), it supports over 40 sectors in highlighting the vital, safe and sustainable use of lead in their industries.